Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.




Epic Happy Hour Deals

on March 21st, 2011
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  • pinitbutton Epic Happy Hour Deals
epic roasthouse1 240x300 Epic Happy Hour Deals

The Incider is one of many great cocktails available for only $5 during happy hour at Epic Roasthouse

by Tiffany Maleshefski

Since it first opened its doors on the Embarcadero in San Francisco, Epic Roasthouse has hosted one of the city’s BEST happy hours. For three and a half generous hours, the restaurant’s upstairs lounge, Quiver Bar, slings $5 cocktails, $5 wines by the glass, and $3 beers. And did we mention the unobstructed views of the San Francisco Bay and the sweet selection of snacks for $3? It’s awesome and usually draws a wide range of people, many of whom consider the full-service restaurant below to be way out of their price range.

Well, that coveted happy hour just got even better.

For starters, there’s a revamped cocktail menu. All-star bartender Camber Lay, who was responsible for getting Epic’s popular happy hour off the ground, parted ways with Epic late last year. Now, the collective bar staff is pitching in to keep the cocktail menu lively and updated.

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  • pinitbutton From Belgium to the Big Apple
NYRES081214 From Belgium to the Big Apple

Rouge Tomate is one of several New York establishments participating in A Taste of Belgium Restaurant Week

by Meryl Pearlstein 

The Irish have had their turn to celebrate this month, and now it’s time for the Belgians. Celebrate the new A Taste of Belgium Restaurant Week with Belgian goodies and beer and a chance for a free vacation. From March 23-30, authentic Belgian dishes and specials will be offered at the following restaurants:

B. Café East

An authentic Belgian café, B. Café East serves up favorites like moules frites, cooked six different ways, and an exceptional variety of cocktails and brews. During this special week they will feature boulets liégeoise with sauce chasseur with Belgian fries, salad and applesauce. In addition, diners will have a choice of Palm or Stella Artois, perfectly poured, to accent the distinct flavors sampled in this menu.

Continue reading “From Belgium to the Big Apple” »

  • pinitbutton Of Cars and Pans: Culture Shock at the Assembly Line
porsche leipzig 300x178 Of Cars and Pans: Culture Shock at the Assembly Line

The striking Customer Center at Porsche Leipzig

by André Gayot

Remember the riddle about the ideal world in which the Italians would be in charge of singing opera, the British would prepare the tea, the Chinese would fry the rice, the French would do the cooking and serve the wine, the Germans would build sturdy cars and be police, etc. That’s the image of the world that we were so comfortable with thanks to the well-worn clichés. Something must have gone wrong: it’s hard today to recognize these established values in the same spots.

Continue reading “Of Cars and Pans: Culture Shock at the Assembly Line” »

Help for Hopeless Romantics

on February 07th, 2011
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  • pinitbutton Help for Hopeless Romantics
heart candle 300x225 Help for Hopeless Romantics

Plan a romantic dinner for two this Valentine's Day

by Jeff Hoyt

Lovers, unite! With Valentine’s Day falling on a Monday this year, you have many choices of dates to celebrate with your significant other. Enjoy a romantic meal and gift-giving this Friday, Saturday, Sunday or the Monday itself. Or, wait until the following Friday and take your partner away for a three-day weekend if you have President’s Day off. offers both the best Valentine’s Day restaurants and the most romantic restaurants. We’ve even got the top 10 romantic restaurants and the top 10 places to kiss in the country, as well as the sexiest restaurants in certain cities. If you want to do it yourself, we feature a selection of romantic cookbook reviews, and your meal can be accompanied by one of our top 10 Valentine’s Day wines or top 10 romantic wines. Or, you can try one of our fine chocolates or aphrodisiacs!

Don’t forget our romantic spas, romantic hotels, and sexy hotels near you. We’ve even got the top 10 Valentine’s Day gifts, but we also recommend a couples massage. That way you’re getting as well as giving!

May you enjoy a LOVE-ly holiday.

  • pinitbutton A Cheesy Time on Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills
norbert wabnig 196x300 A Cheesy Time on Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills
Partner/owner Norbert Wabnig of The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills preparing raclette

by: Sophie Gayot

If you walk into The Blvd, the other restaurant at the Beverly Wilshire hotel besides CUT (one of 2011 Top 10 Steakhouses in the US), on Thursday nights between 6 and 8 p.m., you will certainly wonder what is the unusual smell in the room.

At least until the end of February, Norbert Wabnig or Tony Princiotta, the partner/owners of The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills, invade the center of the room with their cheese and their “melting machine.” That means there is no need to go to the Alps to savor the Swiss delicacy raclette. The warm, melted cheese comes with the usual fingerling potatoes, charcuterie and cornichons, with a Californian addition of heirloom cauliflower, romesco and peppers. Each plate costs $15.

If you prefer your cheese cold, come on Tuesday or Wednesday, between the same hours of 6 to 8 p.m., for tasting plates priced at $20 or $35.



Continue reading “A Cheesy Time on Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills” »

Resolutions or Desserts?

on January 06th, 2011
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four seasons sf sorbet 300x225 Resolutions or Desserts?

Raspberry sorbet with house-made chocolate tiles

by Tiffany Maleshefski

We’ve already described the holiday offerings at the bar and lounge at the Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco. But the hotel’s new pastry chef Jeffrey Wurtz may have you postponing your resolutions to get healthy and eat right. The recent addition to the team, who has worked with Daniel Boulud, Alain Ducasse and Joël Robuchon, has brought with him an upscale, sophisticated dessert menu that is now in step with Seasons‘ highbrow dinner menu. Try a brioche crouton plated with caramelized apple and melon sorbet.

Wurtz also has a penchant for gold leaf, and the fancy accoutrement is seen in almost every dish he sends out. Here it is with a refreshing and light raspberry sorbet served with elegant house-made chocolate tiles (and more comforting chocolate crunchies underneath).

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  • pinitbutton Chicago Ushers in 2011 With Festive Food
cibo matto restaurant 1 300x197 Chicago Ushers in 2011 With Festive Food

Cibo Matto is one of many Chicago restaurants rolling out the red carpet for New Year's Eve. (Photo courtesy of theWit Hotel.)

by Jennifer Olvera

It’s official: the holidays are here. The year is coming to an end. And many people are hoping like nobody’s business for a festive break from the norm. Relief has arrived in the form of celebratory dinners and gatherings throughout Chicago.

Take avec, for example. Despite never taking reservations, it’s not only taking them for New Year’s Eve but also serving patrons in $50 fixed price fashion (with wine for $25 more). Call for menu details and to secure your table. Meanwhile, Cibo Matto is saying “sayonara” to 2010 from 5:30 p.m.-11:30 p.m. with a modern Italian, four-course spread featuring the likes of saffron pappardelle; Sicilian escarole salad with eggplant-ricotta involtini, walnut pesto and apple saba; and goat cheese gnocchi with oxtail ragu, toasted pistachios and pomegranate syrup ($99 per person). Over at One sixtyblue, there’s a lavish, five-course tasting menu replacing its regular offerings — think house-made saffron linguine with Parmesan and shaved white Alba truffles or wood-grilled beef tenderloin with crispy potato noodles and Périgord black truffle sauce. This luxury will set you back $95, plus another $45 when paired with wine.

Continue reading “Chicago Ushers in 2011 With Festive Food” »



  • pinitbutton Carbon Footprint? 8 1/2, EEE
fair trade 300x180 Carbon Footprint? 8 1/2, EEE

Fair trade coffee has become a common sight for the American consumer

by Jeff Hoyt

Do you know what “carbon footprint” means? When it comes to food and beverage items, any idea what “fair trade” is? What do producers mean when they label their products “sustainable?” Even though many consumers don’t know what these phrases mean, the demand for sustainable food and beverage items continues to increase, according to a recent study.

In an online survey of 2,000 adults conducted by the Chicago-based Mintel, a whopping 84% of respondents said they regularly buy green or sustainable food and drink. However, many of them were unaware of what makes a product sustainable.

Continue reading “Carbon Footprint? 8-1/2, EEE” »

Holiday Issues

on November 29th, 2010
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  • pinitbutton Holiday Issues
home alone 300x177 Holiday Issues

Holidays have you stressed? Unwind with one of our Top 10 Holiday Movies, including John Hughes' modern-day classic, Home Alone.

by Jeff Hoyt

While you’re still working your way through Thanksgiving leftovers, we’re hard at work making the next set of holidays easier for you. Shopping? Check out our Top 10 Holiday Gifts, including a new book for foodies: Avec Eric: A Culinary Journey with Eric Ripert. Need a break from shopping? Unwind with one of our Top 10 Holiday Movies: some will steal your heart, while others depict stealing groundhogs. Going to a holiday party? Pick up one of our Top 10 Holiday Wines, which covers white, red, dessert, and sparkling. But for the best in sparkling wines, consult our Top 10 Prestige Cuvées, our selections of the top Champagnes available.

All of these lists and more can be found in our latest The Food Paper newsletter, published today. It’s easy to subscribe to our free newsletters, including our recently published Hotel Issue and our Annual Restaurant Issue coming out in January. Keep coming back to for reviews of the newest restaurants and hotels.

Last-Minute Turkey

on November 24th, 2010
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NYRES051105 Last Minute Turkey

The elegant dining room at The Harrison in New York City

by Meryl Pearlstein

Do you know how long it takes to safely defrost a twenty-pound turkey? Don’t try to stuff it in your microwave. Instead, make a reservation at one of our top Thanksgiving restaurants near you. And don’t forget to pick up one of our recommended Thanksgiving wines.
For our friends in New York, we offer a top 10 Thanksgiving restaurant list and more of the best places to chow down tomorrow. Here are even more details of some of our picks. Enjoy your holiday. We hope you have lots to be thankful for.

Wall & Water: At the new Andaz Wall Street hotel, Chef Maximo Lopez May prepares a farm-to-table Thanksgiving culinary adventure between 1pm and 7pm. The menu will be offered for $65 per person or $32 for children 5-12. Start with “The Larder” (raw bar) with handpicked Fishers Island oysters, smoked salmon and trout, poached shrimp, red and white anchovy salad, and Hudson Valley cheese and charcuteries. Next, move to “The Family Table” where you will create your own salad before heading to “The Kitchen,” where you will be presented with oven roasted turkey, grilled swordfish, braised veal leg, vegetable soup, roasted root vegetables, creamy parmesan grits, mashed new potatoes, and steamed green vegetables. Finish your meal at “The Chef’s Table” with home style apple pie, berry crumble, chocolate cake, pumpkin pie, or make your own sundae.

Continue reading “Last-Minute Turkey” »

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